The 2022 MLB offseason is winding down with everyone looking ahead to the regular season. Before the first pitch of the MLB schedule is thrown, let’s dive into the biggest winners from a wild and spring of moves.
Winning the offseason doesn’t always translate to success. A year ago, the San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets were viewed as the biggest winners after their big moves. Only the Cardinals made the MLB playoffs and they didn’t advance past the NL Wild Card Game.
However, the right moves can make a significant difference for a club. Whether it’s a World Series contender strengthening their lineup or a young team injecting experience into their clubhouse, adding specific pieces can pay off in 2022 and beyond.
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Let’s dive into the biggest winners from the 2022 MLB offseason.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays fell one game shy of a Wild Card spot in 2021 and the rest of the American League is glad they didn’t make it in. Led by general manager Ross Atkins, Toronto went into the winter with an aggressive approach and came out with an even better team than before.
Losing AL Cy Young award winner Robbie Ray is a blow. However, the Blue Jays softened the loss of its ace by signing Kevin Gausman (3.00 ERA since 2020) and Yusei Kikuchi (projected 4.21 ERA) to provide more depth to the pitching staff. The Blue Jays are also banking on José Berríos, acquired at the 2021 trade deadline, to step in as the No. 1 starter.
Toronto’s biggest move of the MLB offseason, acquiring Matt Chapman. While he will provide more power for the lineup, hitting in the No. 6 spot, the primary boost he provides is his defensive work. Chapman is one of the best defenders in MLB and his arrival will be a boost for Hyun Jin Ryu. Thanks to these three additions, we feel confident calling the Blue Jays the best team in the AL.
The Minnesota Twins raised eyebrows after trading catcher Mitch Garver for Isiah Kiner-Falefa then using the shortstop to deal Josh Donaldson for Gary Sanchez. It seemed like a bizarre decision and then the other shoe dropped. Minnesota cleared nearly $50 million off its books to sign Carlos Correa.
Correa is going to provide the Twins with even better glove work than Andrelton Simmons, that in itself is a bonus. Of course, the real impact will come from adding the All-Star bat into the lineup. Correa owns an .844 OPS since the 20189 season, averaging nearly 30 homers over a 162-game yearly span. It enhances Minnesota’s lineup dramatically, providing them with a team that can finish near the top of the AL in runs scored.
It’s not the only big addition the Twins made. Sonny Gray posted a 155/50 K/B ratio this past season with a 4.19 ERA in an extreme hitter-friendly park. With the move to the more spacious Target Field and backed by a strong defense, he can be a solid No. 1 starter for the Twins. While we’d have loved to see Minnesota snag one more front-line pitcher, that will come from an in-season trade.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers faced the possibility of significant turnover heading into the MLB offseason. Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Chris Taylor and Kenley Jansen all hit free agency. While Jansen and Seager are gone, it’s fair to say Los Angeles filled the void.
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Trea Turner, a yearly MVP candidate, returns to shortstop and fills the void created by Seager’s departure. With second base opened up, the re-signing of Chris Taylor fills that position. All that left is a need for an All-Star slugger, enter Freddie Freeman.
Entering his age-32 season, there shouldn’t be concerns of an imminent decline. He posted a 135 wRC+ this past season, in line with his outstanding production from 2018-’19. He’ll also have a lot of help, playing in the best lineup in MLB. Pair the re-signings with the additions of Freeman and Andrew Heaney, it’s impossible to not view Los Angeles as a winner this offseason.
New York Mets
While many teams waited to launch their MLB offseason spending until after a new CBA was signed, the New York Mets weren’t as patient. After vowing to spend more money, club owner Steve Cohen went out and provided ith with a free-agent frezny.
The big move, of course, is landing Max Scherzer. A three-time Cy Young Award recipient, New York landed one of the best starting pitchers in his era and paired him with Jacob deGrom. There are no questions about it, this is a pitching duo no team wants to face in October. We also loved the Chris Bassitt trade, landing the perfect No.3 starter who posted a 3.23 ERA in his last 412 innings.
Fans will also witness an improved Mets lineup. Starling Marte provides the speed this team lacked and he’ll consistently get on base, setting up Francisco Lindor and Peter Alonso for RBI chances. There’s also more depth in New York with switch-hitting Eduardo Escobar (.745 career OPS) and Mark Canha (.776 OPS) rounding out the lineup.
A strong bullpen with an upgraded lineup and one of the best starting rotations in baseball, the Mets come out of the MLB offseason as a legitimate playoff threat.
We’re not ready to call the Detroit Tigers a playoff team, that’s likely a year away. However, the front office deserves credit for starting to add impact players who will be a part of the playoff core when Detroit hosts games in October 2023.
Eduardo Rodriguez missed the 2020 season due to complications from COVID-19. When he returned in 2021, he also didn’t have good fortune (4.74 ERA vs 3.5 FIP). The 29-year-old southpaw still holds an electric arm, responsible for a stellar 20.4% K-BB rate this past season. If the bad luck (.363 BABIP) reverses course, Detroit has a No. 2 starter for years to come.
While we might have preferred Seager or Correa over Javier Baez, there’s no doubt the Tigers filled a need. Baez will continue to be a quality defender at shortstop, making highlight plays and taking away hits. While the rising strikeout rates and plummeting batting average are concerns, another season with 25-plus home runs and 80-plus RBIs is very possible.
Rounding out why we liked the Tigers’ moves is catcher Tucker Barnhart. He’s exactly who you want behind the plate for a young pitching staff that includes Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning. he also highlights the team’s priority for finding veterans who can mentor the exciting talent that is on the way.